Stressed Snails Become Forgetful

Recent research shows that stressful situations make pond snails forgetful

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Recent studies have revealed snails become forgetful when they get stressed.

Pond snails respond to stressful situations in a similar way to mammals, making them a useful model species to study learning and memory.

pond snail

In the study, carried out by researchers from University of Exeter and University of Calgary, the snails were trained to reduce how often they breathe outside of their natural habitat, water.

Before training, the snails were exposed to two stressful situations: low calcium (calcium is essential for healthy shells) and overcrowding from other snails.

They were then placed in water with low oxygen levels and gently poked whenever they emerged to breathe. Their memory was tested by the number of times they emerged from the water. If they only emerged a few times, memory was present.

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The results showed that the pond snails had a poor long term memory when exposed to stress, and were only able to remember information for a short amount of time.

However, when exposed to more stressful situations, all learning and memory processes were blocked.

So next time you’re stuck doing last minute revision and can’t remember anything, take a minute to remember the forgetful snail – if you can.